This fall marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act’s signing into law. This anniversary gives us the opportunity to celebrates the law’s successes and to assess it’s various failures and shortcomings. Because the Act is enforced by the EPA and state agencies under EPA directive, the executive has the unique authority to determine if and how the various provision will be enforced. On a few occasions, presidents have made CWA reform a top priority and have worked with Congress to amend it’s language.
It is my hope that, by studying the role that presidential leadership has historically played in the enforcement of the CWA, I will be able to illuminate many of the reasons behind the limited progress towards cleaner water made over the past 40 years. There is no doubt that, on the whole, our water is markedly cleaner now than it was in 1972. However, universal clean, safe, and swimmable water is still not a reality in this country. By studying the policy initiatives and outcomes of previous administrations, we can better understand what must be done in order to ensure the CWA’s future success.
I’ve enjoyed everyone’s posts so far and look forward to reading all of our proposals. See you in November!
University of the South